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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Lord De Tabley (John Byrne Leicester Warren) b. 1835

A Woodland Grave

BRING no jarring lute this way

To demean her sepulchre,

Toys of love and idle day

Vanish as we think of her.

We, who read her epitaph,

Find the world not worth a laugh.

Light, our light, what dusty night

Numbs the golden drowsy head?

Lo! empath’d in pearls of light,

Morn resurgent from the dead;

From whose amber shoulders flow

Shroud and sheet of cloudy woe.

Woods are dreaming, and she dreams:

Through the foliaged roof above

Down immeasurably streams

Splendor like an angel’s love,

Till the tomb and gleaming urn

In a mist of glory burn.

Cedars there in outspread palls

Lean their rigid canopies;

Yet a lark note through them falls,

As he scales his orient skies.

That aërial song of his,

Sweet, might come from thee in bliss.

There the roses pine and weep

Strong, delicious human tears;

There the posies o’er her sleep

Through the years—ah! through the years:

Spring on spring renew the show

Of their frail memorial woe.

Wreaths of intertwisted yew

Lay for cypress where she lies,

Mingle perfume from the blue

Of the forest violet’eyes.

Let the squirrel sleek its fur,

And the primrose peep at her.

We have seen three winters sow

Hoarfrost on thy winding-sheet:

Snows return again, and thou

Hearest not the crisping sleet.

Winds arise and winds depart,

Yet no tempest rocks thy heart.

We have seen with fiery tongue

Thrice the infant crocus born:

Thrice its trembling curtain hung

In a chink of frozen morn.

This can rear its silken crest:

Nothing thaws her ice-bound breast.

We have eaten, we have earn’d

Wine of grief and bread of care,

We, who saw her first inurn’d

In the dust and silence there.

We have wept—ah God! not so:

Trivial tears dried long ago.

But we yearn and make our moan

For the step we us’d to know:

Gentle hand and tender tone,

Laughter in a silver flow:

All that sweetness in thy chain,

Tyrant Grave, restore again.

Bring again the maid who died:

We have wither’d since she went.

O unseal the shadowy side

Of her marble monument;

Earth, disclose her as she lies

Doz’d with woodland lullabies.